Captains of industry at the turn of the 19th century would ply the seas on their yachts--but mostly for pleasure rather than business. Now, at the end of the 20th century, corporate leaders can fly in no less luxury, and within hours to any point on the globe to conduct business, thanks to the latest generation of long-range business jets.
The Gulfstream Aerospace (Savannah, GA) Gulfstream V, certified last April by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, is the first of these $30-million-class falcons for the new millennium, with several competitors slated to be in service starting next year.
The design typified by the "G V (G Five)" goes beyond what most travelers find in airliners. It maximizes the airplane's use, as well as passengers' time, in reaching any destination. The wing, designed using NASA codes and computational-fluid-dynamics is integrated into the airframe via Dassault, France, CATIA software to blend takeoff and climb capabilities with cruise performance. Result: the G V cruises well above weather and commercial traffic at 51,000 ft, in thin air for low drag. It can travel 7,150 miles, with required fuel reserves still in the tanks. Giving the aircraft a thrust-to-weight ratio roughly 30-60% more than many airliners, two BMW Rolls-Royce BR710 engines of 14,750-lb, sea-level thrust rocket the aircraft in 17 minutes to an initial cruise altitude of 45,000 ft, and a top speed around600 mph. As a result, CEOs in New York can be in Tokyo in 14.5non-stop hours.
The heart of the G V cockpit, the Honeywell (Phoenix, AZ) SPZ-8500 integrated avionics suite, drives six 8 x 8-inch CRT displays for flight instrumentation and crew advisories. Other system features include: triple laser gyroscopes and Global Positioning System satellite navigation; turbulence-detecting Doppler weather radar; and options for satellite voice-and-data communications and a Honeywell/GEC Marconi head-up display (HUD). The latter presents the pilot with out-the-window cues for landing ease in low visibility at airports with few landing aids. An infrared camera provides added nighttime HUD imagery. A millimeter-wave imager to penetrate moisture is under development.
For safety, an Allied Signal (Redmond, WA) Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System (see Design News, July 7, 1997) is standard. In one avionics rack aft of the cockpit, the Maintenance Data Acquisition Unit (MDAU) collects onboard systems data, recording even minor faults, and also indicates the potential effect on future aircraft dispatch reliability. These data not only update the aircraft's records, but can be transmitted back to a home base or Gulfstream for troubleshooting.